Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Paleontologist Party/Luau Anniversary Party

Paleontologist Party Paper & Cake Dinosaur Dig printables
Today, I'm sharing two very special parties, what happens when my party crazy rubs off on others.  So remember awhile back I blogged about my nephew's Paleontologist Party? Since we couldn't be there, I sent them a Party In A Box featuring Paper & Cake's Dinosaur Dig printables and put everything in there but the kitchen sink.

Tuesday Tutorial (On A Thursday) - Halloween Hanging Doily Garland

paper doily garlands with paper fans and lanterns

I'm always inspired by fabulous store windows...I came across this gem at Enchanted Florist and fell in love! They made paper doily garlands and I loved the vertical flow contrasted so well with the bright pops of color from the paper lanterns and fans.

I love this idea because paper doilies are so affordable, you can get packs of them at Dollar Tree.  My Cash & Carry has a 250 pack for only $5.00 and that will make a lot of garlands.  I knew I had to duplicate the garland with a with a Halloween twist!  I know, you can't even think about Halloween, but you can start working on these now and have lots of them for your party.
Halloween hanging paper doily garland

Back To School 2012: Parties

Check out my last Back To School post on Today's Mama...sharing fabulous parties are always the finale of my Back To School series.  Have you seen this party from Gwynn Wasson Designs? The printables are all free! That's right! You better go check this post out, more freebies are there. Seriously, do you see those Clementine suns?

Tuesday Trend - Paper Cups Crafts

Paper cup tiki
It never ceases to amaze me how much cleverness is out there! Every time I start looking for party inspiration, there is so much, I just can't contain it all! Remember the tiki cup crafts I did for the Aloha To Summer Party? Well, of course I had to find more crafty cup cleverness like...

Readin', 'Riting, 'Rithmetic On Pinterest

school themed Pinterest board
We out here in the PNW go back to school next week, after Labor Day.  I know, most of you are probably already there.  If you are still looking for fun afterschool treats, lunchbox note inspiration and more, check out my school-themed Readin', 'Riting, 'Rithmetic Pinterest board, lots of great free printables, great tutorials and more! Feel free to follow if you don't pressure though.

Elements Of Design In Party Decor - Variety

My elements of design in party decor post generated lots of buzz; I also received several emails for more in-depth ideas about why these ideas 'work'. By no means am I an expert with years of design under my belt.  But as you work on more events, you start getting 'the eye'...something doesn't look right, something's missing...and you'll keep playing around until you get what feels right to you.

Thus, I'm inspired to do a mini series using all eight principals of design (check out the post to see what I'm talking about); so far we've got balanceemphasismovementrepetitionproportion, rhythm, and today is variety.

So what is variety? It's using several elements to hold the viewer's attention and to guide through and around the party space. It can be from mixing different types of elements like patterns and textures to contrasting various elements.  It's hard to explain, so I'll show you...

elements of design variety beer table

This beer-tasting party from The Cooking Channel is a great example of variety, from the contrast of the orange napkins against the wood table with the stark white plates to the dark chalkboard runner offset with the lighter cheese boards.

We Go Wednesday - Pottery Barn Kids/Kiwi Crate Plant A Garden Craft Workshop

Pottery Barn Kids/Kiwi Crate Craft A Garden event 
Are you on Pottery Barn Kids' mailing list? You'll learn about their fabulous in-store events like the recent workshop we attended, a collab with Kiwi Crate.  I can't believe how old my boys are getting...we attend events like these as a set for years, but now my oldest is 11 and is 'too cool' for these outings.

Today's event was creating a windowsill garden and learning about where our food comes from.  Since we live in the lush Pacific Northwest, we are well versed in local orchards and gardens.  Sadly, I keep promising to create a little garden of our own and no follow-through.  The little one couldn't wait to go.
Pottery Barn Kids/Kiwi Crate Craft A Garden event 2
He was so intense, following every direction to the letter...but he is very methodical when it's something he's interested in.  Which is funny, because he's the exact opposite when he's not...whipping through whatever it is to get it over with.
Pottery Barn Kids/Kiwi Crate Craft A Herb Garden herbs
Here are our creations at home. He was so protective of them the whole way back!

And before you know it, little plants started to form!  We are going to decorate terracotta pots to transplant them in...but that's another post for another day!

This Kiwi Crate kit was a special promotion with Pottery Barn Kids, but never fear, they have similar crates. And every crate is designed around fun themes and filled with all of the materials and inspiration for hands-on projects. Explore with arts & crafts, science activities, imaginative play, and more.

I just started my own subscription and I'm passing some love on to you. Follow this link to start your own subscription and receive $10 off your first order, plus it's free shipping! 

Tuesday Trend - Plastic Animal Crafts

plastic animal crafts jar toppers
I didn't realize how hot plastic animals really were when I made my jar toppers for the Run Away With The Circus table.

plastic animal crafts gift toppers
Then I saw these favor box toppers at Hello Bee...first off, how fun!  I knew I had to share more of this hot trend.  Plastic animals are easy to find, affordable and are so fun to play with.  Check out some of these inspired crafts...
plastic animal crafts wall art
Turn them into wall art...DIY from Papery & Cakery.

plastic animal crafts candle
Turn them into candles...DIY from The Sweetest Occasion.

plastic animal crafts ornaments
Turn them into ornaments...DIY from

plastic animal crafts garland
Turn them into a garland...DIY from HGTV.

plastic animal crafts dinosaur planter
Turn them into planters...DIY from kittenbear.

plastic animal crafts chalkboard place cards
Turn them into place cards...DIY from Home Modern.

plastic animal crafts magnet
Turn them into magnets...DIY from Sugar & Cloth.

Back To School 2012: Printables

Back to school printables 2012 bus driver appreciation
There are so many creative and free Back To School printables out there, like this one from Like A Pretty Petunia. I couldn't wait to share some of them with you all over on Today's Mama!

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Aloha To Summer Party With Party City Pt. 2

Aloha To Summer Party kids table

Last time,  I brought you the adult side of my Aloha To Summer Party (if you missed it, you must go check it out!) and today, it's all about the kids. There are lots of great DIYs and free printables I found all over the place, so you can easily recreate the look yourself!

This clever idea from Parents made the perfect centerpiece! Create your own tiki hut using a paper parasol umbrella and grass skirts. FYI...their directions said they taped the skirts on.  I couldn't get tape to work so I hot-glued mine on instead.  Do only if you are willing to not use the parasol for other party purposes.
Aloha To Summer Party kids table setting

Aloha To Summer Party kids table crab plates

I've always loved these crab plates and couldn't wait for the chance to finally make them! I modified the legs and pincers from Martha Stewart's download. My plates are dessert sized but you can make them out of dinner sized plates too.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table totems

Remember these totems from my Tuesday Tutorial sneak peek? Have younger guests make one and set them at their place they will remember their seat.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table cocktail glasses

Plastic cocktail glasses aren't just for the big love feeling all grown-up drinking out of fancy glasses.  Tuck in a fun paper napkin like these I found at Hobby Lobby and you're set.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table candy pig roasts

Every luau needs a pig roast! I purchased my candy mold from my local candy store but you can find the same one at Yes, that is brown sugar...although I bought raw sugar which looks 'sandier'. For the life of me, I can't find where I stashed it, so I ended up using regular brown sugar.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table gummi butterflies

Aloha To Summer Party kids table sand dollar donuts

All the place cards are free Backyard Luau printables from Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table veggie totems

These fun tiki printables are a freebie from from Bird's Party.

Aloha To Summer Party kids table cheese shark teeth

Sorry, my pineapple bowls are a score many years ago from Dollar Tree, although you can still find the flowers there.  A nice mix of sweets and healthy foods are a must or you will have kids bouncing off the walls.  That doesn't mean you can't make them fun! I love to rename food...'Shark Teeth' are more interesting to eat than 'cheese'.

I hope my two tables have inspired you to create your own luau extravaganza!  Check out Party City's extensive luau party section for more decorating tips and ideas, from tropical cocktail recipes to a clever photo booth idea. Right now, lots of items are on clearance and for a limited time, there is free shipping on all orders!  And my military peeps, did you know about their 10% discount card for in-store purchases? Next time you go in, pick one up.

Fishing net, plastic cocktail glasses, multi-colored plates and bamboo place mats, courtesy of Party City. The red dessert plates and brown paper cups were my own  purchase from Party City.

Disclaimer:  I received product on behalf of Party City for review and no compensation was given, real or implied. This review is my own personal opinion.

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Aloha To Summer Party With Party City Pt. 1

Party City Aloha To Summer Party adult table

As I mentioned in my last Tuesday Tutorial, Party City sent me a box of luau goodies to see what magic I could come up with.  I've never done a luau party before, so I was super excited! I thought nothing would be more fitting than an Aloha To Summer Party. Invite your friends over and celebrate the end of summer in style!

There are so many fun photos I had to break this up into 2 is the adult set-up.  I wanted more of an elegant island feel and didn't want it to scream luau, but whisper softly in your ear.

Thank heavens I'm a hoarder and have lots of paper lanterns in different sizes and colors, they are the perfect pop of color. I would highly suggest starting your own stash of reusable party decor items, like lanterns, honeycomb balls and neutral material for table covers.

I love using burlap for texture and it is a perfect base to mimic the rough sand and grass of your favorite tropical get-away. A few yards from your local craft store are all you need.  I simply added a few seashells, a starfish and a curious lobster.

Party City Aloha To Summer Party pulled pork sandwiches

Make your life easy! A crockpot full of pulled pork and King's Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls make the perfect sliders. Add fun fruit skewers, slices of pineapples and chips and your guests will be most satisfied.

Party City Aloha To Summer Party pineapple cracker

Welcome each guest to dine with a pineapple party favor filled with treats. Well, they look like pineapples to me, anyways.  Take a peek back at the tutorial for the how-to. Layering your table is a great way to add interest to your table.  I used wooden chargers and and small bamboo plates for each setting.

Party City Aloha To Summer Party salad

I love dressing up cake stands! How fun are these luau skirts? I made them with strips of fringed crepe paper,  taped them to the edges and wrapped with flower leis.  Adding a little something to your cake stands is an easy detail many people overlook.  

My square Martha Stewart stands have an 5/8" width on the edge so it's easy to find coordinating ribbon to create a band.  Even layering the top with scrapbook paper adds a serious punch.

Party City Aloha To Summer Party pretzel totems

This table couldn't be all needed a few totems to watch over everyone.  Do they look familiar? I adapted them from Wants And Wishes' Halloween skeletons. This time I used different flavors of yogurt-covered pretzels and Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. 

Supply all the ingredients and have guests make their own instead. You would be surprised to see adults love to play with food too.  Perhaps a friendly competition for the most interesting totem to up the ante?

Party City Aloha To Summer Party drink table

You can't have a luau without drinks! I created a little drink station with a great tiki lantern and tabletop torches.  A little luau fringe around the table edge and you're set. Everyone knows a big punch bowl full of a blue beverage hits the spot.  Add a fun twist to the punch bowl by adding drink parasols to a Styrofoam wreath, then set the punch bowl inside the wreath.

Party City Aloha To Summer Party totem

OK, how awesome is this guy? It's one of those fake flame deals and I've never seen them before! Every time I look at it, I think of Finding Nemo...Shark bait! Hoo ha ha!

Check out Party City's extensive luau party section for more decorating tips and ideas, from tropical cocktail recipes to a clever photo booth idea. Right now, lots of items are on clearance and for a limited time, there is free shipping on all orders! I just ordered more tissue fans and honeycomb balls in the colors I can't find at my local store, and you can't beat those prices anywhere!

I couldn't squeeze everything in this post so come back next time for the kids' table.

Wicker chargers, bamboo plates and forks, drink parasols,  tiki lantern, tabletop torches, luau table fringe, assorted paper lanterns and flower leis courtesy of Party City

Disclaimer: I received product on behalf of Party City  for review and no compensation was given, real or implied. This review is my own personal opinion.


We Go Wednesday - Whole Foods Market Lunchbox Bootcamp

Whole Foods Market Lunchbox Bootcamp
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a private event at Whole Foods Market with chef Chad Sarno.  Vegan chef Chad Sarno.  I-don't-cook-meat-or-even-use-any-animal-products chef Chad Sarno.  As a meat eater and lover of butter and cheese, I was pleasantly surprised and learned a thing or two.  Check out my meatless adventures over on Today's Mama.  And p.s...this looks like chicken carnitas right?  Yeah...not so much chicken as something totally unexpected.

Tuesday Tutorial - Aloha To Summer Party Crafts

The lovely folks at Party City sent me a box of luau goodies to have fun with.  Surprisingly, I've never thrown a luau party...previous posts have looked down on them snootily as a graduation party theme.  I think all the tiki torches and coconut bras made my one eyebrow twitch a little.  Now that I'm going to have to prove my own point, today I'm going to share two of the projects I worked on, a little sneak peek of my Aloha To Summer shoot.
Aloha To Summer tiki cup craft
I saw this adorable idea for tiki puppets at; for us, it can will work double duty as a party craft and name card for the kid's table. All you need are brown paper cups, brown electrical tape and whatever craft supplies are hiding in your closet...foamies, feathers, pom-poms, the works!  Before the party, tape the two cups together and let your guests do the rest.

Aloha To Summer pineapple party cracker
For the adult table, I created pineapple party tubes that also double as a place card and party favor. You will need:

crepe paper in light and dark green
2" X 6" cardboard tube (mine are from a craft store)
6" X 8" piece of yellow cardstock
green tissue shred
whatever lovelies you want to put inside your party tube, like wrapped candy.
green ribbon or baker's twine

1.  Cut a long strip of each of the crepe paper that is the width of the tube and twice as long as the height of the tube.
2.  Fill the tube with the treats and a little shred inside both ends of the tube.
3.  Layer the crepe paper pieces and place the tube 3 inches from the bottom.
4.  Roll the tissue around the tube and keep in place with tape.
5.  Twist and tuck the bottom tissue into the tube; secure closed with tape.
6.  Twist the top closed and tie off with ribbon or baker's twine, then trim the top to look like pineapple leaves.

Stay tuned for the grand reveal! 

Lunchbox Fun

Some of you have already started school...we don't start until after Labor Day but it's creeping up fast!  Ugh, I don't even want to think about going back to packing lunches again.  But don't get stuck in the lunchbox rut...check out my Today's Mama post on fun ways to keep you and the kiddo excited about their munchies. 

Tuesday Trend - Clothespins

Yes, you saw that right...clothespins! Usually seen as a symbol of housewife oppression, it is hot on the party circuit because you can get a lot of them for cheap and they can be easily modified.

clothespin place card
Real Simple suggests using mini ones to hold escort cards or food labels.

clothespin backdrop
I am so in love with this backdrop from Anthropologie featured on What's Up Whimsy? A simplified version would be lovely behind a dessert table.

clothespin gift topper
A fun way to make paper favor bags fabulous with Giver's Log.

clothespin mirror
How about making a mirror with Green Diary?

clothespin advent calendar
With burlap bags and twine, a rustic advent calendar from Houzz.

clothespin gift topper
Creature Comforts shows us how a little creativity goes a long with gift adorning.

clothespin bag clip
Why invest in those fancy store-bought clips when you can make these from Dollar Store Crafts!
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